Starting a Blog is May’s theme for the Design to Grow Link-Up. You can find thousands of different tutorials on how to install WordPress and your theme (I’ve written one here). The reality is that you likely will launch your blog on the same day that you set it up. Believe me; it could be one long day if you to set up and publish your first post.
Once you’ve decided to start a blog and setup a site, you will likely want to set up a coming soon landing page at first. A coming soon landing page allows you to generate buzz about your blog before you launch, set your site up to make sure everything is correct (theme, menu, sidebar), get comfortable with the WordPress dashboard, set up your static pages, and build up a bank of posts before you launch. I recommend that new blogs launch with between 3-5 published posts (more on this next week).
To create a coming soon landing page for your blog, you will need the following:
- Design Elements
- Blog Logo: Recommended that it is no bigger than 600 pixels wide.
- Brand Colors: You will need a color for the background, text, and links
- Fonts: It is easy to make sure that these are standard fonts, like Arial and Times.
- Background Photograph (Optional), should be 2000 pixels wide.
- Text promoting your new blog
- Relevant Social Media and Sign-up links
How to Create a Coming Soon Landing Page
- In your WordPress Dashboard, go to PLUGINS < ADD NEW.
- Enter “Coming Soon” into the Keyword Search box. Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedPro plugin will come up. Select INSTALL NOW. Follow the steps to install and activate the plugin.
- Once the plugin is activated, go to SETTINGS < COMING SOON PAGE & MAINTENANCE MODE.
- Under GENERAL section, the default setting is DISABLED. To activate the Coming Soon Page, select ENABLE COMING SOON MODE.
- Under PAGE SETTINGS section, enter in your LOGO, HEADLINE, and MESSAGE. The message is the same visual/text editor as in your posts and pages. You can enter in images, format text, and add fun styling.
- Under HEADER section, you will enter your FAVICON, SEO TITLE, SEO META DESCRIPTION, GOOGLE ANALYTICS CODE.
- Once you have entered in all this content, make sure to select SAVE ALL CHANGES. You’ve now just entered all the content for your landing page; it’s time to make it beautiful!
- Go to the DESIGN tab. You will see four different sections – BACKGROUND, CONTENT, TEXT, and TEMPLATE.
- Under BACKGROUND section, you can enter either a background color or a background image. For Fig & Thyme and Out to Eat, we opted for a background. For Meg McCabe Studios, we used an image. If you use an image, make sure to check RESPONSIVE BACKGROUND. This feature will allow the image to be the full size of the browser.
- Under the CONTENT section, you can change how wide it is. With this generic template, I recommend that you do no bigger than 720 pixels wide. It is tough for your reader to read paragraph text that is larger than 720 pixels wide on a desktop. I typically leave this as the default – 600pixels.
- Under the TEXT section, you can customize the colors as well as the font.
- Under the TEMPLATE section, you can enter any CUSTOM CSS that you want to the project. I typically add a few different things, but if you are not familiar with CSS, you would just ignore this section.
- When you’ve made all of your design changes, make sure to select SAVE ALL CHANGES. You can then preview your layout in the LIVE PREVIEW tab.
- The ADVANCED TAB section is where you can put scripts and custom HTML. I very rarely use this part.
If you are a brand or business who will have a landing page up for a couple of months, you might be interested in the Pro version. I have never used the pro version. I’ve found that I’m able to customize the landing page to my clients’ needs. However, if you are not that tech savvy, the pro version might be the help you need!